Navy gets surface-to-air missiles for two frigates


THE Philippine Navy took delivery of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) for its two South Korean-built frigates as it build capability for modern multi-dimensional warfare.

Navy Spokesman Cdr. Benjo F. Negranza said the European-made Mistral SAMs for frigates BRP Jose Rizal (FF 150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF 151) were delivered on Friday through the Subic Bay International Airport.

While the Navy did not say how many SAM units were procured, this is the first time that the Navy and even the Armed Forces of the Philippines has gotten hold of such type of weapon.

The Navy has already armed a couple of its multi-purpose attack craft (MPACs) with Israeli-made Spike-ER (extended range) missiles; but the arrival of the SAMs meant the military has joined the era of modern warfare.

The procurement and delivery of the Mistral SAMs is part of the Philippine Navy’s frigate-acquisition project, which was awarded to MBDA Missile Systems Ltd. based in France, according to Negranza.

France is also leading the list of countries as the possible source of submarines for the Navy, which is currently in the process of capability upgrade under the modernization program of the whole military.

“[The SAMs] are among the primary weapons of FF150 and FF151 that bolsters the PN’s anti-air warfare capability,” Negranza said. “The arrival of these missiles will greatly capacitate our JRC (Jose Rizal class) frigates in the conduct of their maritime operations.”

The Navy said the SAMs were the first delivery for arming of the two frigates. Both are also expected to receive their surface-to-surface missiles and their close-in weapon system.

The delivery and operation of the BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna jumpstarted the modernization of the Navy.

Once their required weapons and systems are delivered and operationalize, both warships can conduct anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine and electronic warfare.

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